It has been about four years since my original visit to Wyoming. I wanted to be super exited about this trip. My photography skills had improved, I wasn’t taking the zone, it’s early enough in the season that it shouldn’t be busy, and overall it should just be a great trip. That is what I thought.
I didn’t start in Wyoming. I stopped in South Dakota to rest up because I was driving. It should have only taken me half a day to get to Wyoming, but I took advantage of the time and it took me a good 12 or so hours to actually arrive. Now for those that have not visited the Grand Tetons or Yellowstone, the majority of the campsites are first come-first serve. Most are also not open very early in May, so I am thinking it is early enough that I can get a campsite and the parks won’t be busy….Yeah, I was wrong…so very, very wrong.
Since I didn’t get to the Tetons until well after 9 at night, it was too late to go to any of the three campgrounds that were open. At the time, at least two of them had not filled yet. Two of them were also in Yellowstone, which by the luck of all that is mine…were still a few hours away and I was exhausted but I was positive and thinking I got this. It will be fine.
I won’t whine about sleeping in my car, but I slept in my car which my body didn’t approve of. I woke up early as I always do, so I headed for Yellowstone because I wanted to spend the day there. It also contained two of the campgrounds and they were the cheapest out of the three that were open. Thinking I still had time, I stopped at Old Faithful. Some of you may remember that my first visit to Old Faithful was not fulfilling as he proved to unreliable after I stood around for hours waiting for him to go off which he never did. He made up for it, but this is not about that. He’ll be another day. After Old Faithful, I took a hike and as I was finishing my loop this beautiful beast appeared. I sat down on a log about two fancy RV’s away and eventually he wondered closer, but he was paying me no mind. I snapped some pictures and decided to go to the convenient store across the way and grab some food since I had yet to eaten.
When I walked in I saw a restaurant of sorts and chose to eat there instead. If you stop in Yellowstone, I recommend the Old Faithful Basin. I cannot attest to their bison meat, but their regular burgers are pretty amazing. With that said, after I finished I went on my way.
As I’m walking I see this undetermined figure at the time motioning to something. I realize that this beauty was still lingering and made his way to a tree. For some reason, this figure seemed focused on me. I don’t know why and I would have said otherwise until I took another couple of steps and the undetermined became a woman yelling at me that I was too close to the bison. I assure my fellow blog readers, I was not. I was still over a fancy RV and a half away and the farthest thing from his eyesight and his mind. Ms. Yeller on the other hand, was barely a car length away and so was the guy standing the sidewalk adjacent from her, so why she was so fixated on me…I’ll never know. Think she wasn’t? I didn’t want to think so either.After spewing some things that I know she couldn’t actually hear like, “I’m not too close. I know what I’m doing,” she turned and walked away. As she was walking away I took another step and unbeknownst me, she had noticed and yelled at me to walk around. Well, as I was walking around I noticed there was a guy literally two feet from Mr. Beauty’s hind side and yet I’m the one that she was worried about.
As I got closer, I realized that she was a ranger of sorts. I’m guessing a new ranger because I have never seen the rangers out there before and no one was yelling at me when I was a lot closer. Now, I realize that she was just doing her job and I cannot truly knock her for that. She didn’t know me and to her, I was just some dumb tourist with a camera. But here’s a secret, folks, I may push my luck and I do but I never push it to the extent that I am disrespecting the animal or intentionally putting them, or myself, in danger. If I am considerably too close, they came into my space…rarely the other way around. I do get closer than the “rule” allows, but I maintain, watch, observe, and read. I am usually not the problem. And everyone that was involved this day, I was the least likeliest to be hurt. Not to mention, if he had wanted to charge….it wouldn’t have mattered how far away any of us were. So, after getting yelled at by Jr. Ranger…again, this time for stepping off the path for trying to get out of someone’s way, I had-had it with Old Faithful. I decided to try and find the Yellowstone campgrounds, one of which was still and hour away and the other which was still more so than that. I drove and drove and soon realized how mistaken I was that there wouldn’t be a crowd this time of year. I also under estimated the number of trails that would actually be open for non-snow prepared hikers. Hint: none. I eventually found the first campground and it was now full. I didn’t bother looking for the other two because what took me a short time to get took forever to get back to. Between being the fixture of someone’s misplaced anger, traffic, construction, and bear traffic (not as exciting as it sounds and a story for another day) I was reaching my limitations. I headed back to the Tetons where there was less snow, less rangers, and a tolerable amount of traffic. Despite all of that, I made the most out of my time and got some decent pictures of this beautiful boy. I never did get a campground, it became unworthy of the trouble. I’d also decided that the next day would be my last day in the Grand Teton/Yellowstone area. Too many tourist for early May and too many people messing with my vibe. It was time to move on. I hope you think the pictures are worth it, though. He’s one of the only things that made my day in Yellowstone worth it.
Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.
Montana Rose Photography